Moutaouakil: I want to be the best in League Two

Yassin Moutaouakil
Yassin Moutaouakil

Yassin Moutaouakil is aiming to establish himself as the best right-back in League Two this season.

That is the Frenchman’s goal as he seeks to maintain his footballing rejuvenation at Fratton Park.

The former France under-21 skipper had sunk into non-league football with Hayes & Yeading last season.

It was 12 months ago last week when Moutaouakil featured in a 2-1 defeat at the Hawks in front of a Westleigh Park crowd of 475 in the Conference South.

But Pompey gave him his second chance in the Football League in February.

And come the summer, his improving displays were rewarded with a permanent deal.

The 27-year-old remains Guy Whittingham’s favoured right-back choice and now he’s gunning to prove his quality to League Two.

‘I just want to be the best right-back in the league and take the club back where it belongs,’ said Moutaouakil.

‘The way I took the penalty against Torquay is the way I want to show everyone that I can be the best right-back in League Two.

‘I definitely believe I can do that.

‘When I signed last season it was for me to play week in, week out.

‘Now I am the only defensive player from last year still here and must continue to prove myself every day in training and every weekend.

‘At this level, as a full-back you have to be strong in defence.

‘If you have the chance to cross the ball or get some assists that is great, but you have to be strong at the back.

‘My weakness at the moment is heading the ball and I want to show I am capable of doing it. It is something I am working on.

‘I want to give the reason to the manager that even if I am good offensively I am also good defensively.

‘And I want to be the best in the league.’

Moutaouakil feels that observing Ramadan impacted on his form early this season.

Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and involves fasting from dawn until sunset, finished after the opening two matches.

During that period the defender made a costly mistake in the home defeat to Oxford, while was moved to the bench for the following Capital One Cup fixture at Bournemouth.

But Moutaouakil has appeared in all six matches since and netted the winning penalty in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy shoot-out against Torquay.

And the former Charlton defender is confident he is now improving.

He added: ‘No excuses from me, I came through a really hard month when I was fasting so playing the first game I was not 100 per cent and maybe it took the best out of my performance.

‘I am just at 60-70 per cent of what I can do and I want to show I am better than that.’